Last night the Ice Wolves faced the Brown Bears for the final time during the regular season. On Friday, Kenai won a very close game, 4-3. Each team scored three goals in the final period of regulation. It was the first win in seven games for the Brown Bears.
The first period started out fairly even between the two non-division opponents. However, play abruptly stopped after Alex Gomez took a routine wrist shot that broke a pane of glass 9:15 into the period. After nearly a 35-minute delay, the teams came back out onto the ice to resume play. A few minutes later, Adam Szubert (2) scored the first goal of the game. The Ice Wolves headed to the locker room trailing 1-0 on the scoreboard and in shots, 11-9.
The middle period is when the scoring frenzy started. Logan Ritchie (17) scored :53 into the opening period. Shortly after his goal, Keegan Langefels (4) was able to cut the deficit in half after scoring on the powerplay. The Brown Bears would answer right back by scoring two quick goals, putting them up 4-1 not even five minutes into the period. After Kenai scored their fourth goal, Mackay was relieved of his duties in net and replacing him was Henrik Laursen. Laursen played 60 minutes the night before and had 39 saves on 43 shots. Before the halfway point of the period, former Ice Wolves player Dylan Hadfield (2) scored to give his team a 5-1 lead. It marked the sixth time this season that the Brown Bears had scored four goals in a period, and the second timed they did it in the middle period. The Ice Wolves had tons of scoring chances late in the second period but Landon Pavlisin turned them all away. After 40 minutes, Kenai led 5-1 and were outshooting New Mexico, 28-24.
In the third period, Kenai increased their lead to five (6-1) after Laudon Poellinger (9) scored his second of the night. Spencer Rudrud (9) scored shorthanded before the midway point of the period. Bringing his team back within four, 6-2. Kenai went on to score two more times before the horn sounded, ending the game at 8-2. The Brown Bears finished with 41 shots and the Ice Wolves had 31.
The win gave Kenai their first sweep since Dec. 13-14 (vs. SPR). It marked the third time this season that the Ice Wolves have allowed eight goals in a game. During their two-week road trip to Alaska, the Ice Wolves finished with a record of 0-3-1. Their next opponent is the only team in the South Division that they have not lost to (Topeka). New Mexico picked up their first ever sweep in franchise history against Topeka on Nov. 8-9. The Pilots currently hold the third place spot in the division with 55 points (26-11-1-2).